While the watch of HBO’s landmark series Game of Thrones has ended, the pop culture fallout of the final two seasons still hasn’t quite faded into the rearview mirror. Showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss are still very much in the conversation, with fans targeting them in a most interesting way. Ultimately, it comes to branding them with two words: “bad writers.”
Starting the day after the airing of “The Last Of The Starks," the final episode ever for Game of Thrones, the Reddit forum r/FreeFolk wanted to make sure that Benioff and Weiss would be forever linked to the Google search for the term “bad writers." The plan was to upvote a specific post to the point where it would ping as the top result once someone searched those words.
Sure enough, that plan kind of worked, as searching that particular term brings up top results that include a lot of the press coverage that covers this particular fact. Even typing those two words leads to predictive searches such as “Bad Writers D&D” or “Bad Writers Game of Thrones."
Now that this campaign has succeeded, let’s take a look at some of the most notable grievances that the fandom has logged in the thread that made it all happen. Melisandre wasn’t kidding when she said “The night is dark and full of terrors," as we’re about to dive into what’s still a very sore subject for some people.
Game Of Thrones’ Season 7 Really Was The Point Of No Return
It was a crisis that everyone could see coming, as Season 6 of Game of Thrones approached. Author George R.R. Martin’s source material was going to run out with the end of that particular season’s story, and the plan for how to continue was an important one for David Benioff and D.B. Weiss to stick the landing on.
Their solution was, basically, to continue for two seasons after that point, and while that decision itself could be criticized, some fans took note of the fact that Season 6’s finale, “The Winds Of Winter," may have been the signpost that noted things were going to severely dip in quality.
What was once a promising series that could have ran for a long and prosperous run had a self-imposed shelf life, because David Benioff felt it would be better for the show to have a definitive end. That decision itself came with some extra caveats that only soured certain factions of the fanbase further into branding Benioff and co-showrunner D.B. Weiss as the internet’s choice for “bad writers.”
Rushing The Game Of Thrones To A Close Didn’t Help Fans Either
On top of Season 8’s reduced episode count, much like Season 7 before it, the episode lengths felt rather light when compared to the expectations fans had for the promised “feature length” episodes that the final season was supposed to have.
That rumor was broken as soon as the Season 8 premiere, “Winterfell," hit the airwaves, as the opener ran a mere 54 minutes with credits. With all of the threads that still hung open from six full seasons of Game of Thrones action, Seasons 7 and 8 were allegedly all it took to wrap up the show’s chain of events.
Somehow, it was recently revealed that a huge Direwolf battle was cut from “The Battle of Winterfell” episode, which would have probably added some more weight to that particularly pivotal event. Anyone who complained there wasn’t enough Ghost included in Game of Thrones would have at least had a little extra footage of Jon Snow’s loyal companion being the best boy in the Seven Realms.
Benioff And Weiss Apparently Relied Too Much On “Unexpected” Events
If you were pressed to choose one particular moment from Game of Thrones Season 8 that was the straw that broke the Iron Throne’s back for fans, you’d more than likely be treated to several of the season’s big twists that irrevocably changed the fabric of HBO’s flagship show.
Be it -- and all the spoilers -- Varys’ death, Daenerys’ burning of Kings’ Landing, or even Bran Stark being named king of the Seven Realms, these are all moments played in the name of creating “unexpected” twists. Fans certainly noticed it, as some of the r/FreeFolk contributors talked about how it felt like David Benioff and D.B. Weiss saw how twists of Game of Thrones’ past wowed the crowd, and thought that Season 8 should be full of those!
Which is exactly what led to the pivotal moments mentioned above, with the most noted example being Daenerys’ heel turn. Merely explained in a “Previously On” segment the week after it happened, with voices of past criticisms and slights filling her head in the recap, a mad Targaryen was hastily born.
David Benioff’s Involvement In X-Men Origins: Wolverine Is Still A Sore Spot
Rule 1 of The Internet: The Internet doesn’t forget. David Benioff is certainly someone who should know that, especially if he’s ever read this particular Reddit board, as his involvement in the infamous X-Men Origins: Wolverine is still brought up to this very day as evidence against his writing.
While Benioff was the original writer on the ill-fated film, and had his work revised down the line by another writer, the die was cast and Game of Thrones fans weren’t shy to take that writing credit to heart as what they thought was gospel.
Though depending on who you talk to, people seem to believe this black mark counts against both David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, as some lump the latter writer in as guilty by association.
The Internet Isn’t The Final Frontier For Trolling David Benioff and D.B. Weiss
As if this voluminous Reddit thread wasn’t enough of a threat against Benioff and Weiss’ public image, there’s going to be an even greater opportunity for fans to troll the Game of Thrones showrunners. And it’s all happening at San Diego Comic-Con.
Those same folks that have set up this big push to associate the term “bad writers” with David Benioff and D.B. Weiss are also among those who really want to see the Hall H panel for Game of Thrones turn into one big, public shaming of Benioff and Weiss. Should this event come to pass, that would boost the odds of this Google rigging tomfoolery actually working.
Merely making this campaign an internet phenomenon was one step, but if the “shaming” of David Benioff and D.B. Weiss actually happens, you can be sure that the story of how these “bad writers” took Game of Thrones and “ruined” it in two short seasons will make sure that this story will gain even more traction on the internet.
Many figures throughout history have espoused the belief that victory is always readily claimed by its architects, while defeat is left in the cold as an unclaimed product. However, no matter how you look at Game of Thrones, the names David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, as well as their shorthand nickname of D&D, will always be associated with that show’s fortunes. With a little luck, all of this "bad writers" stuff will blow past, particularly given the two showrunners have big Star Wars projects on their plates next.
It’s been a rollercoaster ride of eight seasons, many twists and turns, and quite possibly not enough direwolves. What it hasn’t been though is boring or complacent, and that’s partially because of the evolving reaction of the fans. We should point out that a lot of fans were perfectly happy with all or most of the way Game of Thrones played out on HBO during its final seasons, but the unhappy crowd has certainly been a vocal one, as seen with the "bad writers" trope.
Game of Thrones is currently available on HBO Go and HBO Now in its entire eight season run, with a complete gift set making its way to shelves this December, just in time for the holidays.